Biography

Cynthia Rowland is a business and tax lawyer who helps philanthropists, including private individuals as well as for-profit and non-profit organizations, who wish to make the world a better place.

As a business attorney and strategist, she helps her clients achieve personal, family, business, charitable, philanthropic, and community objectives. Cynthia’s expertise in this regard is broad, and includes entity formation, business transactions and grant agreements, regulatory compliance matters, partnerships and joint ventures, and mergers and dissolutions. In short, she’s well-attuned to the legal needs of philanthropic families, all forms of nonprofit organizations, and business enterprises with a corporate social responsibility directive.

She also advises trustees and directors of charitable organizations on fiduciary and tax issues, including those raised by actual and potential conflicts of interest, regulatory investigations and audits, debt financing of capital projects, including tax exempt bonds, as well as issues raised by settlement of complex litigation involving the founders and their family members, fiduciaries, and charitable organizations.

Cynthia has a particular expertise in the legal and tax issues of corporate philanthropy—business enterprises using philanthropy to benefit their communities, push the boundaries of emerging science and technology not yet adequately funded by private capital, and other emerging approaches the betterment of the planet and its inhabitants. Her clients seek her advice when pursuing charitable co-ventures, fundraising, formation of corporate foundations, and other types of social benefit corporations and entities.

Her approach to her practice combines depth of experience and extensive technical expertise with an openness to innovation. By integrating traditional, proven approaches with new, effective ideas, and structures, Cynthia provides wise counsel to clients who are seeking to accomplish business, philanthropic, social, and charitable objectives in a complex, ever-changing world.

Cynthia is a frequent speaker on nonprofit and tax topics and co-authors three chapters in the California CEB Treatise “Advising California Nonprofit Corporations.” Her podcast, EO Radio Show, covers the broad range of legal and business issues faced by the nonprofit sector, with weekly episodes highlighting perennial issues as well as the cutting edge of new laws and regulations, new business models and new ideas for making the world more just, creative, healthy, and kind.

Distinctions

  • Best Lawyers in America, Nonprofit/Charities Law, Tax Law (2021-2024)
  • Northern California Super Lawyers, Nonprofit Organizations (2014-2023)
  • The Legal 500 United States, Recommended - Not-for-Profit (2016-2021)
  • 2015 Annual List of Rainmakers, Minority Corporate Counsel Association
  • 2015 San Francisco Lawyer of the Year - Non-Profit/Charities Law
  • 2011 Outstanding Attorney of the Year Award, American Bar Association's Business Law Section Nonprofit Organizations Committee

Memberships and Affiliations

  • Member, Advisory Committee, Walt Disney Family Museum
  • Former Chair, Committee on Nonprofit Corporations, American Bar Association's Business Law Section (2005-2008)

Firm Highlights

Publication

Nonprofit Basics: Unpacking Prudent Investments, PRIs and MRIs

Welcome to  EO Radio Show - Your Nonprofit Legal Resource . Episode 73 discusses frequently used terms in the nonprofit world pertaining to investment activities. Public charity and private foundation directors and officers need...

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Publication

REFRESH: Loot and Private Foundation Rules – Part 1

Welcome to  EO Radio Show - Your Nonprofit Legal Resource . In this episode, I'm happy to refresh  EO Radio Show  episode 21, the first of our two episodes exploring private foundation rules using the...

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Publication

Corporate Transparency Act: A Guide on Beneficial Ownership for Nonprofit Executives

The Corporate Transparency Act, enacted as part of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021, represents a significant shift in regulatory requirements for entities across the United States. This act, set to...

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Publication

Employment Law Update for Nonprofits With Holly Sutton

Welcome to  EO Radio Show - Your Nonprofit Legal Resource . Charities, foundations, and their founders often request help addressing employment practices and compliance questions. In this episode, host Cynthia Rowland is joined by Holly...

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Publication

California Regulation of Charitable Fundraising Platforms Part 2 - Reporting Due Diligence, Recordkeeping, and Disclosure Rules

Welcome to  EO Radio Show - Your Nonprofit Legal Resource . This episode covers the provisions of California’s Charitable Fundraising Platforms law (Gov. Code, § 12599.9) relevant to all covered charitable fundraisers and fundraising...

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Publication

California Regulation of Charitable Fundraising Platforms: Part I - Definitions

Welcome to  EO Radio Show - Your Nonprofit Legal Resource . In episode 76, I introduce the provisions of California's Charitable Fundraising Platforms law (Gov. Code, § 12599.9). These rules are relevant to all...

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Publication

REFRESH: Loot and Private Foundation Rules – Part 2

Welcome to  EO Radio Show - Your Nonprofit Legal Resource . In this episode, I refresh  EO Radio Show  episode 22, the second of our two episodes exploring private foundation rules using commentary on the...

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Publication

Nonprofit Quick Tip: State Filings in Kentucky and Tennessee

Welcome to  EO Radio Show - Your Nonprofit Legal Resource . Episode 78 is the 11th in a series of Quick Tip episodes focusing on the details of state registration of nonprofit corporations. With Joe...

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Publication

IRS Dirty Dozen Warnings on Charitable Scams

Welcome to  EO Radio Show - Your Nonprofit Legal Resource . In this episode, Cynthia Rowland highlights some tax schemes designed to exploit both taxpayers and the Treasury. The Internal Revenue Service just wrapped up the...

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Publication

Nonprofit Quick Tip: State Filings in North Carolina and South Carolina

Welcome to  EO Radio Show - Your Nonprofit Legal Resource . Episode 75 is the tenth in a series of Quick Tip episodes focusing on the details of state registration of nonprofit corporations. With...

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